In our FAQ section, you will find answers and additional information about the principles, our materials, the production, and a lot more. If you miss a question or something else, please get in touch with us.
Do you want to know more about us and how we work? Get all information here:
What does Fine Principles mean and what does it stand for?
Fine Principles combines fine jewellery and principles by design & mathematics with each other.
The term ‘fine jewellery’ is used for all jewellery that is made of precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. In our case, we use recycled, nickel-free and certified materials that come from a refinery in Germany. All our jewellery is handmade in small quantities in Pforzheim.
We have lots of principles actually, but when it comes to our creation, we combine design with simple mathematics to form timeless jewellery objects. Therefore, we use flexible folding grids and transform them from 2D to 3D. The aspects of mathematics take effect in the number of facets as well as in the dimensions.
Four of our six categories strictly follow the Geometric Series. However, since rings and bangles correspond to natural body measurements, they are each drawn and adapted separately. In other words, nothing is scaled
Who is Alexandra Schwarzwald?
Alexandra Schwarzwald is the founder and creative mind behind the Berlin-based label Fine Principles. She speaks the visual language of geometric shapes and flexible grids.
In 2015, Alexandra found her way into the world of jewellery making for the first time. So she transferred her graphic language to object design and created multi-faceted wax models by hand in her studio in London. Back at this time, she was already taking her first systematic approach by removing wax to play with different numbers of facets.
She found the origin of this design language in folding techniques, but also an enormous potential of design possibilities. So, to test even more options, she evolved from analogue wax to digital 3D modelling.
In August 2021, she embarked on a creative sabbatical and speculated on forms that emerged from a wide variety of folding grids. It quickly became clear that the variety of designs was infinite, so she turned to a principle from mathematics—the Geometric Series (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.). By taking the approach of doubling or halving, both in the number of folds and in the dimensions, she created a system that sticks to the basic concept but still leaves room for individualisation.
The very first ‘Series XF’ will now be presented to the public on 28/29/30 October 2022 at the design fair BLICKFANG in Hamburg. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
Why do you produce in Pforzheim?
Our jewellery is made in Germany, in Pforzheim to be more precise. This means that we produce in Pforzheim and also source the materials from nearby Pforzheim.
We collaborate with Manuel Grosse and his atelier Ars Vivendi Germany. He has worked for many years in the family business founded in 1903 in Pforzheim and has long-standing contacts with practised goldsmiths, casters, refineries, suppliers, stone setters, and other manufactures. His expertise enables us to initiate ideas from the beginning to the finished piece of jewellery.
The goldsmith’s work differs depending on the product, of course, and he is not the only person involved in the whole process. There are many steps going on behind the curtain, including the work of the product manager, the caster, the goldsmith, and the process of (galvanic) plating. These wonderful professionals help transform ideas into concrete objects and bring the pieces to life.
What materials do you use and where do you source them?
We produce our pieces by hand in small quantities in Pforzheim, Germany. All our recycled materials are certified precious metals and nickel-free, also additional elements such as ear pins or chains.
Our goldsmith atelier sources Silver, Gold, and Platinum from a refinery nearby, which is a certified member of RJC — Responsible Jewellery Council. That is why we can name our materials as recycled Gold, recycled Silver, and recycled Platinum.
What does XF or X–Form mean?
XF is derived from the folding ‘X-Form’. As the name suggests, the X-shape consists of a repeating pattern of triangles that resemble successive Xs.
The grids we use result from different folding techniques. For example, if we fold a “Schnapper” aka “Heaven & Hell” aka “Salt & Pepper” fold edges result, which are referred to as “valley” and “mountain” folds in paper folding. Unfolded, the result is a grid consisting of a total of three horizontal, three vertical, three 90° and three 180° diagonals. These lines form exactly 32 right triangles. In this way, flexible design grids are created through duplication or combination, which, transferred to geometries, acquire their own dynamics.
What does the ID code stand for?
All our pieces have an ID consisting of a number and letter code. For example, behind XFCE64S2 is the system of the ‘X-Form’, the object ‘Circle Earring’, the number of ‘64’ facets, the size ‘S’, and the material thickness of ‘2’.
In the case of creoles, exactly ¼ of the facets are missing, yet they are described with the complete number since the design is based on that of circle earrings.
The word ‘System’ describes the connectedness of all our future series, and objects in a series, with each other. Despite different identities, they have the same origin, namely that of the folding techniques.
How can I make sure the jewellery is from you?
To give you peace of mind that the pieces are made by us, we mark our products with a tiny FP. It is lasered into the surface of the material and of course stands for Fine Principles. You can find it on the inside of all rings and bracelets, on the back of pendant chains, and on the back of all earring types.
Are you interested in more? Learn more about terms from the world of jewellery:
What does RJC-certification mean?
Our goldsmith atelier sources Silver, Gold, and Platinum from a refinery in Germany, which is a certified member of RJC. The Responsible Jewellery Council is the world’s leading organisation for sustainability in the jewellery industry. The refinery also follows the standards of the RJC Code of Practices (CoP) and RJC Chain of Custody (CoC). Find more detailed information about RJC at responsiblejewellery.com.
What is the difference between recycled jewellery and Fair Trade?
Unlike recycled Gold, sustainable or Fairtrade Gold comes from mines that have been awarded certificates such as Fair Trade, FAIRMINED, or IRMA (Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance).
Since we like to use the materials that are already available, we use recycled metals from teeth, old jewellery, objects, or even electrical waste.
What does REACH mean and how does it effect the jewellery?
Our goldsmith atelier and its entire supply chain comply with the REACH regulation. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals and is a regulation of the European Union (EC) No 1907/2006.
The focus is on protecting human health and the environment from the risks posed by the use of chemicals. At the same time, it aims to improve the competitiveness of the chemical industry in the EU and to promote alternative methods of harmful substances in order to reduce testing on animals.
Why does fine jewellery need hallmarks?
A hallmark is the embossed or stamped symbol in a precious metal that provides information about its fineness. In short—it is a mark of the quality of the material and defines ‘fine jewellery’.
In Germany, the most common stamps are 333, 585 and 750 for Gold, 835 and 925 for Silver and 950 for Platinum. These are not compulsory, but the text of the law states that the fineness must be indicated with ‘whole-numbered thousandths’ (§2 para.1, §3, §5 para.1 FeinGehG).
Legal regulations on hallmarking vary from country to country. England, for example, has been using and controlling hallmarking for over 700 years, as counterfeiting is still punishable by law.
What are precious metals?
We are still working on the final copy, please give us a moment to finalise it. Thank you.
What is an alloy?
To make it easier for you—An alloy describes the mixture of metals to get better metal properties. Since pure or ‘999 Gold’, for example, is much too soft, additional metals such as Silver and Copper are alloyed with it, which in turn creates the colour of the alloys. This is very simple physics and has to do with the dependence of the reflecting waves. Thus, Gold appears yellow, Copper red and Silver white.
With Gold alloys, you often hear the term ‘Karat’ and it describes the part and percentage of Gold. For example, ‘999 Gold’ is 24 Karat and has a 99.9% Gold content, whereas ‘333 Gold’ is 8 Karat and has 33.3% Gold content. The low percentage of fines means that the jewellery discolours or tarnishes.
Silver is also available in a wide variety of alloys. From sub-alloys such as ’80 Silver’ to ‘999 Fine Silver’, the range of different Silver alloys is very large. Certainly, the best-known Silver alloy is the ‘925 Sterling Silver’ alloy, which is very typically used for jewellery. 925 Silver is a Silver alloy that consists of 92.5% Silver. As a rule, the remaining 7.5% is added in the form of Copper.
Do you offer different alloys?
We also offer customized alloys on request like recycled White Gold and recycled Rosé Gold in 14K or even 18K. If you only prefer thicker plating, that is possible, too. Please get in touch with us.
Karat and Carat
What is the difference between Karat and Carat?
The word ‘Karat’ has two meanings. In jewellery making, ‘Karat’ refers to the fineness of Gold in an alloy. Thus, jewellery with 24K is made of pure Gold—99.9% to be exact—and means that no other alloying metal is mixed in. For gemstones, the unit ‘Carat’ is used to accurately define weights. Thus, one carat ‘ct’ weighs exactly 0.2 grams.
What is a facet?
We have all heard the term ‘facet’, but few can describe it accurately. The word itself derives from the Latin ‘facies’ meaning ‘(front) side’ or ‘face’ and is basically nothing more than a flat or smooth surface on a geometry. Thus, facets find their use in stone carving, cutting, geometry and printing, or can even be found as part of a personality trait in psychology.
Do you need information about production time, shipping or returns? Then find out about our service here:
How long does the production take?
We want to support responsible consumption — therefore we focus on small quantities and production on demand. So, it takes four to six weeks to make a piece and send it to your home. We thank you for your understanding.
Can I return the jewellery?
Yes, you can. As soon as we start selling our products, we will add the additional service address of our goldsmith’s atelier. So there will be more updates soon.
Do you ship jewellery to the UK and Switzerland?
We would like to sell and ship to the UK and Switzerland, but unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment. It is because we need special stamps from both countries, as the legal requirements for hallmarking are still very strict. But we are working hard to get these.
Care & Cleaning
How can I clean the jewellery?
Even a piece of jewellery wants to be worn every day, and you can too. Nevertheless, we would like to point out that all products wear out over time. The following tips should help you protect it for as long as possible.
We recommend never cleaning the pieces with soap or any other cleaning agent, as this can damage the tarnish protection. Please keep the jewellery in a dry place and protect it from direct sunlight. We also suggest that you always take off the pieces when swimming in the sea, during longer sporting activities or even to wash your hands, if possible. If the pieces get wet, a silver cleaning cloth is suitable, with which you can gently rub the pieces dry.
In order to protect the surface for as long as possible, the pieces should not lie loosely in a box or box together with other pieces. They can then hit each other and the plating or tarnish protection can rub off. It is best to always store them in the jewellery bag and/or box when not in use, especially when travelling.
Where can I repair broken jewellery?
If your piece is broken that we have manufactured, then please contact us before at email@example.com, and we will get in touch with you to help. Thank you.
Can I get a skin allergy if I wear your jewellery?
Precious metals like Gold and Silver are generally very suitable for everyone who suffers from allergies. As all our products are nickel-free and made from recycled materials—mainly recycled 925 Sterling Silver—the source of danger is very low. Even our plating includes recycled Silver, recycled Gold, recycled Palladium, and recycled Platinum.
However, should you experience a skin reaction with any of our pieces, please contact us, and we try to help. Thank you.
Want to know more about who else has used folding techniques in their work? Then find out more here:
Who is Paul Jackson?
Since 1983, Paul Jackson has been a professional paper folder, paper artist, paper engineer, author, and teacher specializing in origami and the art of folding. He also ventures into other worlds and explores it in education, mathematics, physics, engineering, music, art, design, and nature, of course.
Paul Jackson has written over 40 books and taught students in design fields such as architecture, fashion, ceramics, jewellery, product design and textiles at more than 80 universities and colleges in 13 countries.
Together with his wife, Israeli origami artist and educator Miri Golan, he founded the Folding Together project and created the Origametria programme, which uses origami to teach geometry. Since 2018, it has been included in the national mathematics curriculum by the Israeli Ministry of Education. Now, more than 30,000 primary school-aged children learn origami every week to build self-esteem, but also to develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, concentration, aesthetics, three-dimensional perception and basic geometry.
Find more about Paul Jackson and his amazing wort at origami-artist.com →
Who was Josef Albers?
Josef Albers (March 19, 1888 in Bottrop – March 25, 1976 in New Haven, Connecticut) was a German-American painter, art theorist and educator. His most famous work is his colour square painting ‘Homage to the Square’, with which he is one of the pioneers of Op Art, optical art.
In addition to his studies on colour theory, Albers also devoted himself to the subject of folding. As early as the 1920s, he taught folding techniques at the Bauhaus in order to provide his students with approaches to solving problems. Albers encouraged to plan their folded paper models in advance to ensure that the economy of form was in proportion to the expected amount of material and labour.
Explore more about his wort at albersfoundation.org →
By the way, it is also worth looking at the works of his wife Anni Albers aka Anneliese Elsa Frieda Fleischmann (born 12 June 1899 in Berlin; died 9 May 1994 in Orange, Connecticut). She was a German-American textile artist, weaver, and printmaker and was known for major innovations in the field of functional materials in weaving.
Who was Hermann Gloeckner?
Hermann Gloeckner (born January 21, 1889 in Cotta near Dresden; died May 10, 1987 in Berlin) was a German constructivist painter and sculptor. He is an inspirational figure for Alexandra because he used the source of folding to create amazing two-dimensional prints.
The theme of folding has been a companion for more than five decades and creates art pieces in one, two and three-dimensional forms. Learn more about Hermann Glöckner and his great work at artnet.de →
Who was Friedrich Froebel?
Friedrich Froebel simply has to be mentioned here, because he recognized the potential of simple geometric shapes more than 170 years ago and incorporated them into his educational methods.
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (born 21 April 1782 Oberweißbach in Thuringia, died 21 June 1852 Marienthal near Bad Liebenstein in Thuringia) was a German educationalist, pedagogue & vocational trainer and is considered the inventor of the kindergarten. Incidentally, the term “Kindergarten” is used in over 40 languages.
Froebel saw the kindergarten as an early childhood education centre and stimulated the child’s independence, dexterity, haptic experience, creativity, motor skills and ability to abstract through play. He developed the system of play gifts and activities which, simply described, were Froebel’s toys with which children could stack, lay, move, fold, cut, draw, braid, tie, weave, sew, stitch, model or knead.
Probably the best-known toys are his “building sets”, also known as “Spielegaben 3 to 6”. With the help of the building blocks, he envisaged three different forms of play—the beauty form, the knowledge form and the life form. In summary, the child created a variety of symmetrical patterns, learned geometric knowledge and created forms of experience or fantasy. It’s amazing that we come into contact with flexible systems playfully at an early age.
Learn more about Friedrich Froebel and his work at froebel-museum.de →